from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A flag, banner, or standard; an ensign; especially, the flag or streamer of a ship.
  • noun The bearer of a flag; a standard-bearer; an ensign.
  • Existent or occurring in time long past, usually in remote ages; belonging to or associated with antiquity; old, as opposed to modern: as, ancient authors; ancient records.
  • Having lasted from a remote period; having been of long duration; of great age; very old: as, an ancient city; an ancient forest: generally, but not always, applied to things.
  • Specifically, in law, of more than 20 or 30 years' duration: said of anything whose continued existence for such a period is taken into consideration in aid of defective proof by reason of lapse of memory, or absence of witnesses, or loss of documentary evidence: as, an ancient boundary.
  • Past; former.
  • In heraldry, formerly worn; now out of date or obsolete: thus, France ancient is azure semée with fleurs-de-lys or, while France modern is azure, 3 fleurs-de-lys, or 2 and 1.
  • Ancient and old are generally applied only to things subject to change.
  • Old may apply to things which have long existed and still exist, while ancient may apply to things of equal age which have ceased to exist: as, old laws, ancient republics.
  • Ancient properly refers to a higher degree of age than old: as, old times, ancient times; old institutions, ancient institutions. An old-looking man is one who seems advanced in years, while an ancient-looking man is one who seems to have survived from a past age.
  • Antique is applied either to a thing which has come down from antiquity or to that which is made in imitation of ancient style: thus, ancient binding is binding done by the ancients, while antique binding is an imitation of the ancient style.
  • Antiquated, like antique, may apply to a style or fashion, but it properly means too old; it is a disparaging word applied to ideas, laws, customs, dress, etc., which are out of date or outgrown: as, antiquated laws should he repealed; his head was full of antiquated notions.
  • Old-fashioned is a milder word, noting that which has gone out of fashion, but may still be thought of as pleasing.
  • Quaint is old-fashioned with a pleasing oddity: as, a quaint garb, a quaint manner of speech, a quaint face.
  • Obsolete is applied to that which has gone completely out of use: as, an obsolete word, idea, law.
  • Obsolescent is applied to that which is in process of becoming obsolete.
  • Ancient and antique are opposed to modern; old to new, young, or fresh; antiquated to permanent or established; old-fashioned to new-fashioned; obsolete to current or present. Aged, Elderly, Old, etc. See aged.
  • noun One who lived in former ages; a person belonging to an early period of the world's history: generally used in the plural.
  • noun A very old man; hence, an elder or person of influence; a governor or ruler, political or ecclesiastical.
  • noun A senior.
  • noun In the Inns of Court and Chancery in London, one who has a certain standing or seniority: thus, in Gray's Inn, the society consists of benchers, ancients, barristers, and students under the bar, the ancients being the oldest barristers.
  • noun Ancient of days, the Supreme Being, in reference to his existence from eternity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Those who lived in former ages, as opposed to the moderns.
  • noun An aged man; a patriarch. Hence: A governor; a ruler; a person of influence.
  • noun obsolete A senior; an elder; a predecessor.
  • noun (Eng. Law) One of the senior members of the Inns of Court or of Chancery.
  • noun (French Hist.) one of the two assemblies composing the legislative bodies in 1795.
  • adjective Old; that happened or existed in former times, usually at a great distance of time; belonging to times long past; specifically applied to the times before the fall of the Roman empire; -- opposed to modern
  • adjective Old; that has been of long duration; of long standing; of great age
  • adjective Known for a long time, or from early times; -- opposed to recent or new.
  • adjective Archaic Dignified, like an aged man; magisterial; venerable.
  • adjective obsolete Experienced; versed.
  • adjective obsolete Former; sometime.
  • adjective (Eng. Law) a tenure by which all manors belonging to the crown, in the reign of William the Conqueror, were held. The numbers, names, etc., of these were all entered in a book called Domesday Book.
  • adjective (Law) windows and other openings which have been enjoined without molestation for more than twenty years. In England, and in some of the United States, they acquire a prescriptive right.
  • noun obsolete An ensign or flag.
  • noun obsolete The bearer of a flag; an ensign.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Having lasted from a remote period; having been of long duration; of great age; very old.
  • adjective Existent or occurring in time long past, usually in remote ages; belonging to or associated with antiquity; old, as opposed to modern.
  • noun A person who is very old or who lived in ancient times.
  • noun heraldry, archaic A flag, banner, standard or ensign.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective belonging to times long past especially of the historical period before the fall of the Western Roman Empire
  • noun a very old person
  • noun a person who lived in ancient times
  • adjective very old


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English auncyen, from Old French ancien ("old"), from Latin root *anteanus, from ante ("before"). Compare antique.


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  • Archaelogists anlyze ancient civilizations.

    April 7, 2007

  • very old OR a flag bearer

    February 8, 2013